In some ways, hydraulics is an ignored technology. The research dollars going into fluid power is miniscule compared to electronics, and although it’s partly because hydraulics is a mature industry, I don’t foresee this changing any time soon. Regardless, the benefits of hydraulics are high, so it will always have a place in our world, and I feel strongly enough about this to share my list of 7 reasons hydraulics will still be around in 2116.
1. Hydraulics have the highest power density of any mechanical transmission system in existence. This means the most force and power can be created from the smallest possible actuator. A medium-duty hydraulic cylinder with a 2-in. diameter piston will operate in the range of 1500 psi. A 2-in. diameter piston has an effective area of 3.14 in.², and every one of those 1500 pounds per square inch will work upon every one of those 3.14 square inches on the piston. Quick math results in that little 2-in. cylinder being able to push more than 4700 pounds of force, which could lift your 7-series BMW without breaking a sweat.
To be honest, 1500 psi is not a lot of pressure. Most off-highway machinery runs over 4000 psi, such as in excavators or loaders. This same 2-in. bore cylinder could now lift over 12,500 lbs, which is enough to elevate a John Deere 50D excavator itself. If you think that’s awesome, consider the cylinders used in the compact hydraulic tools industry, where they drop “pounds” altogether and start talking in “tons.” A single, 2-in. bore cylinder operating at 10,000 psi can create force to the tune of 15 tons; that’s 15 tons from something the diameter of a lemon.
2. Hydraulics will exist after the zombie apocalypse. In fifty years, when the Internet of Industrial Things is the norm, and then in a further fifty years hence when we are left with a fraction of our population non-dead from the undead, hydraulics will save the day. If and when electronics cannot operate, liquids will certainly exist for us to push through tubes and move things at the other end. Continue reading “The top 7 reasons that hydraulics will be around in another century – By Josh Cosford”